CSJ Sisters celebrate 150 years of ministry

The Sisters of St. Joseph celebrated 150 years of service with a mass Sept. 24 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral.


Church attendees rise for the Gospel at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Sept. 22. Mass was held to commemorate the 150 years of service done by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. photo by Cassie Hayes

by Maureen Burns and Cassie Hayes

story by Maureen Burns

The Sisters of St. Joseph are celebrating 150 years of ministry this year, and they celebrated with a mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral Sept. 24.  Anyone who wanted to celebrate with the sisters was invited, including all St. Teresa’s alumnae, current students and faculty.

The mass started with all of the sisters proceeding into the church with the choir, the Avila Cyrene Women’s Ensemble, singing. Then, Sister Mary Margaret Lazio gave a welcome speech and spoke about her time with the sisters, their lace-making and their impact on the lives of people in the community.

Father Thomas Curran, SJ presided over the mass. Curran focused his homily on the impact the sisters have on minorities, specifically calling attention to their marginalization.

“It is not consistent with the Bible for people to be nameless,” Curran said.

According to Curran, the sisters help give those people names. The sisters, Curran said, are a voice for minorities, and those minorities shouldn’t be known for skin color, but rather by those names.

Senior Claire Franey attended the mass and found the homily especially noteworthy.

“He addressed that our love of the dear neighbor extends past all racial, gender identification, social class and religious barriers,” Franey said. “Especially in our society where these issues are constantly being talked about and debated, it was great to see the Church’s stance on loving each of these groups with equal treatment and respect.”

After communion, the sisters and some members of their ministries sang Sancte Joseph.

“They all sang in harmony and were all connected by this anthem,” Franey said. “It reminded me of when we sing our alma mater to show our pride for our school.”

To finish off the celebration, the sisters proceeded out of the church to the choir singing “How Great is our God” to the sound of the congregation clapping. Outside of the cathedral the sisters were congratulated by friends and family.

photos by Cassie Hayes

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The Sisters of St. Joseph have established many ministries during their time in the United States, one being Journey to New Life, a ministry that gives services to men and women who have been imprisoned and need assistance after getting out. Members of this ministry’s community attended the service Sept. 24.

Recently, St. Teresa’s Academy sophomores volunteered at the Journey house for women just out of prison. Sophomore Liv Davison was one of the students who attended the service day.

“When we visited the house, everyone there was very kind and open,” Davison said. “The women there were sitting out on the porch and were just talking and laughing. What stood out to me was the energy and proactive feeling of the house.”

The sisters began another ministry in 1866 when they established St. Teresa’s Academy. According to Campus Ministry director Meredith Snyder, they continue to work with this ministry and impact young women in the community.

“Thousands of students over the 150 years have been educated and may not otherwise had access to education or the quality of education that they have had from this,” Snyder said. “All of the work the sisters have put in to build the school here is a major accomplishment.”